Thursday, March 20, 2008

Catching up

(I wonder, if I counted, how many of my post titles would be "catching up.")

So, I finally have some free time and what happens? I catch one of the nasty infections that seem to be floating around and it knocks me down. One full weekend and a few odd days spent on the couch and do wonders to eat up your time. While I didn't get most of the things done that I wanted too, I did end up with a lot of free time on my hands, meaning that I was reading.

Oh, how I was reading. It's been just over a book a day, about 1.75 books/day, based on my notes. (Really, all that free reading time almost makes up for being sick.)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was a reread for me, although it had been long enough that I had forgotten most of the story. My RL book club picked it (our first YA!) and from what I heard, everyone loved it. (I was home, coughing, on my couch.)

The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, by Lauren Willig, was an entertaining read, although I think her first two novels in this series are my favorite. This series goes back and forth between now (featuring Eloise, the American grad student who is in London researching the Pink Carnation, Colin, the Pink Carnation's great-?? grandson, and a few other people) and England’s Napoleonic era, where the Pink Carnation and assorted others run around trying to stop the French spy known as the Black Tulip. In the Crimson Rose, we have Mary, elder sister to Letty (previous book), who finds herself at her wit's end after her sister marries the man Mary intended to. Faced with depending on her sister and new brother-in-law for financial support, Mary decides to take Lord Vaugh up on his offer: if she will spy for England, he'll pay for her next season.

The whole series is entertaining, but I recommend reading them relatively close together (if possible). It took me a while to remember who everyone was in the Crimson Rose; I even forgot who the Pink Carnation was!

Into the Dark Lands and Children of the Blood are two books in a series by Michelle Sagara West (she writes the Cast in Series I started reading earlier this year). Set in an alternate world, there are two sides: Bright Heart (the Light) and Dark Heart (the Dark). After an eternity of war, both the gods have left the mortal realm, leaving their war in the hands' of their followers, both blood and nonblood (human). The first book, after setting the backstory, introduces us to Erin, a healer by birth and warrior by choice, granddaughter to the Lady, Bright Heart's first servant. Captured after battle, she's taken prisoner/guest by Stefanos, first servant to the Dark Heart, who, though at first he intends to feed on her, keeps her alive as part amusement, part confusion, and part something else that he's not quite willing to admit.

Children of the Blood is set three hundred years later, opening with Stefanos and his army crushing the last of Bright Heart's followers. Everyone of the blood there is killed, except for Darin, a young boy who managed to survive by being where he shouldn't have been. Keeping the boy alive as a gift for Erin, Stefanos seeks to wake her from the sleep he cast her into three hundred years before. However, despite being the first servant, there is an entire church against him, seeing Erin as an abomination, and Stefanos is forced into fighting a battle for her that he can't win.

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